How can I Treat a Calf Muscle Ache?

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  • Written By: Kerrie Main
  • Edited By: A. Joseph
  • Last Modified Date: 18 March 2020
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Most people will experience some form of muscle strain at some point. The calf muscles, or triceps surae, are a common injury location for some athletes and runners. The pain might be the result of not enough stretching before a physical activity or even a muscle fiber tear. If you experience a mild calf muscle ache, you might be able to treat it at home. Self-care treatments include resting, icing, compressing, elevating and medicating the calf.

The first step on the road to recovery is resting the injured calf. Your muscle tissues will not be able to heal without it. If your calf muscle ache is mild, the resting period might be comprised of not exercising for only a few days. You might even be able to switch to a low-impact activity that won’t strain the calf muscle, such as swimming. If you are experiencing debilitating pain, you might need to call your doctor to see whether you need to stay off your leg completely.

You might be able to reduce your calf muscle ache by simply applying an ice pack to the lower leg. Many doctors and physical therapists recommend doing the ice therapy during the resting period. You can use a store-bought ice gel pack, ice cubes in a plastic bag or even a bag of frozen vegetables from the freezer for this remedy. Apply the ice pack to the injured muscle for 15 minutes at a time.


Some people use compression techniques to relieve a calf muscle ache. To try this treatment, simply wrap your calf muscle with elastic bandage materials. Use the same type of wrap that you would use on a sprained ankle. This remedy is believed to work because it reduces movement of the sore muscles, and it reduces muscle tendon swelling. You can also try elevating your sore calf, raising it above your heart level while sitting or sleeping.

Many doctors also recommend taking an over-the-counter pain-relieving medication, such as naproxen or ibuprofen. These types of medications work to relieve a calf muscle ache as well as to reduce inflammation in the muscles. Be sure to check with your doctor to make sure that these types of medications will not negatively counteract with any other medications you’re currently taking. After your leg begins to recover, you also might want to incorporate deep stretching exercises and calf muscle-building practices into your normal regimen in order to prevent future injuries.


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